Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 31 May 2014 abolished all the Empowered Groups of Ministers (EGoMs) and Groups of Ministers (GoMs) and told Ministries and departments to take decisions on pending matters

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1) Who was recently appointed the arbitrator from the Union Finance Ministry in the Rs.20,000-crore tax dispute case with U.K. telecom major Vodafone? – Justice (Retd.) R. C. Lahoti, Former Chief Justice of India (The government’s decision was in response to an arbitration notice served by Vodafone International Holdings B.V. in April 2014 under the Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement between India and the Netherlands for resolving the dispute. The Union Cabinet had approved the conciliation with Vodafone in June last year in a bid to resolve the capital gains tax dispute related to its 2007 acquisition of Hutchison Whampoa’s stake in Hutchison Essar)

2) The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on 17 June 2014 came out with a consultation paper on an alternative funding source to help start-ups struggling to raise funds. Under this, funding (in small amounts) is sought from multiple investors through a web-based platform or a social networking site for a specific project, business venture or social cause. What is the name of this funding source which is quite popular in developed countries? – Crowd-funding (According to SEBI’s consultation paper SEBI wants the issue fund-raising capped at Rs. 10 crore a year for each start-up. Only national stock exchanges and SEBI-registered depositories are eligible to set up a crowd-funding platform)

3) ‘Mehrangir’, the south Mumbai bungalow of late Dr. Homi Bhabha, the father of India’s atomic energy programme was sold on 18 June 2014 for Rs. 372 crore. Which organisation was the beneficiary of this auction and which also conducted the auction? – National Centre for Performing Arts – NCPA (NCPA a charitable trust was the beneficiary of as per the will of Homi Bhabha’s brother Jamshed Bhabha. The property is located in south Mumbai’s Malabar Hill, one of the most premium and expensive localities in Mumbai)

4) What is the name of Iraq’s largest oil refinery which was taken into control by Islamic militants on 18 June 2014? – Beiji (The Beiji refinery accounts for a little more than a quarter of the country’s entire refining capacity all of which goes towards domestic consumption for things like gasoline, cooking oil and fuel for power stations. At the height of the insurgency from 2004 to late 2007, the Beiji refinery was under the control of Sunni militants who used to siphon off crude and petroleum products to finance their operations. If the seize at Beiji continues for a long time, long lines at the gas pump and electricity shortages are expected in Iraq)

5) The third and the final link of the 16.4-km elevated Eastern Freeway was inaugurated by Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan at Mumbai on 16 June 2014. With this all the sections of Mumbai’s Eastern Freeway have now been opened for traffic, some seven years after its foundation was laid. Which is the third link of this freeway? – The Panjarpol-Ghatkopar link which is 2.8 km long (The Eastern Freeway was commissioned by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) in a staggered manner, with the first section being open for motorists in June 2013)

6) Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) of India on 18 June 2014 confirmed the kidnapping of 40 Indian workers in Iraq who worked there. These workers were based near which Iraqi town as stated by the MEA? – Mosul (These 40 Indian workers were working for a Turkish construction company near the Iraqi town of Mosul and no contact is being established with them. There are about 10,000 Indians working and living in Iraq. Only about 100 are in violent, insecure areas. That includes the construction workers near Mosul as well as 46 Indian nurses working in a hospital in the Iraqi town of Tikrit)

June 20, 2014

1) The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 17 June 2014 asked banks to make sector-wise disclosure of their advances from 2014-15 onwards with a view to encourage them to actively manage exposure to various segments. This direction was based on which committee’s recommendation on this subject? – Dr. Nachiket Mor Committee (The Committee on Comprehensive Financial Services for Small Businesses and Low Income Households under chairmanship of Dr. Nachiket Mor had recommended that banks actively manage their exposures to various sectors, including priority sectors)

2) Who was chosen for World Food Prize of the United Nations for 2014 as announced recently? – Dr. Sanjay Rajaram, veteran plant scientist of Indian origin (India-born Sanjay Rajaram,  a citizen of Mexico has been the head of the wheat-breeding programme at the International Centre for Wheat and Maize (CIMMYT) in Mexico for several decades. He has been chosen for the award for his scientific research that led to a prodigious increase in world wheat production. Regarded as the most prestigious award in the area of food and agriculture, the Prize, carrying a cash prize of $ 250,000, would be presented during the U.N. World Food Day on 16 October 2014. India’s Dr. M.S. Swaminathan was the first recipient of the Prize in 1987)

3) Who was selected for the post of the next Secretary General of Interpol, the international policing agency, on 18 June 2014? –Juergen Stock of Germany (Stock’s candidacy will be submitted to Interpol’s supreme governing body, the general assembly, for endorsement when it meets in Monaco in November and if endorsed, he will assume office after Ronald K Noble steps down in 2015 following three successive tenures. CBI Director Ranjit Sinha was also in the race for this post as his candidature was cleared by the home and external affairs ministries. He was interviewed on 16 June 2014 and it was the first time that an Indian made it to top six candidates)

4) Who took over as the new King of Spain on 19 June 2014 ending King Juan Carlos’ nearly 39-year reign? – Prince Felipe (Prince Felipe became known as King Felipe VI as he took an oath in parliament shortly after receiving a ceremonial sash from his father Juan Carlos representing the receipt of the command of the country’s armed forces. Prince Felipe became the new Spanish monarch in the wake of the abdication of his father, King Juan Carlos on 2 June 2014)

5) Global e-commerce retailer Amazon announced its entry into the smartphone market with a new range of smartphone. What is the name of this smartphone which would be launched in the U.S. on 25 July 2014? – Fire (Amazon is entering the smartphone market rather late with Samsung and Apple dominating worldwide smartphone sales with a combined 46% share. Fire will cost $200 for a base model with 32 gigabytes and $300 for 64 gigabytes)

6) Who took over as the Chief of Southern Naval Command on 19 June 2014? – Vice Admiral Surinder Pal Singh Cheema (He took over as Southern Naval Command’s Flag Officer Commanding in Chief at a ceremonial parade held at Naval Air Station INS Garuda at Kochi)

7) Defending champion Spain made a shocking exit from FIFA World Cup 2014 after it lost to Chile 0-2 in a league game at the iconic Maracana Stadium on 18 June 2014. With this loss Spain became the ………….defending champions to crash out of the tournament at the first stage – Fourth (Spain joined Brazil (1966), France (2002) and Italy (2010) in the dubious club of defending champions bowing out of the World Cup in the first round)

June 21, 2014

1) The shareholders of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) got an opportunity to cast their votes through e-voting system at company’s 40th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on 18 June 2014 at Mumbai. RIL shareholders cast their votes by touching the touch-pads of tablet computers that were brought by volunteers individually to them. However, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs had deferred mandatory e-voting for shareholders till which date? – 31 December 2014 (Thus e-voting for shareholders would become mandatory for companies from 1 January 2015. An advantage of e-voting is that under it one share has one vote while under the earlier system one person has one vote. In the traditional voting at company AGM’s hands were shown or lifted in support of a proposal and it was not more than a mere formality)

2) The railway passenger fare was increased by 14.2% in all classes while freight charge was hiked by 6.5% on 20 June 2014 by the union govt. This hike comes into effect from which date – 25 June 2014, i.e., post midnight of 24 June (This is the steepest hike since 1999 and the third hike in last 15 years)

3) India’s capital market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on 19 June 2014 announced a slew of reforms that included a proposal to hike public holding in all public sector undertakings (PSUs), new norms for research analysts and ESOPs given by listed firms. What is the minimum public shareholding for PSUs as fixed by the SEBI? – 25% or Rs. 400 crore whichever is lower (Currently, PSUs have to maintain 10% of minimum public shareholding, while private companies are required to maintain 25%. Now, the PSUs will be given three years to achieve minimum public shareholding of 25%)

4) The Union Home Ministry on 19 June 2014 asked Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to ensure prior permission is sought before any donation is made to NGO Greenpeace India by two overseas contributors. Any contribution from these two overseas contributors to Greenpeace India would have to be cleared by the Home Ministry, the ministry has said, citing Section 46 of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010. Which are these two overseas contributors? – Greenpeace International and Climate Works Foundation (With this, Greenpeace International and Climate Works Foundation have been clubbed with Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, which have been put on a similar leash)

5) Hyderabad’s famous Salar Jung Museum is celebrating how many years of its existence during June 2014? – 125 years (The Salarjung Museum is one of the three National Museums of India and houses the largest one-man collections of antiques in the world. Nawab Mir Yusuf Ali Khan Salar Jung III (1889–1949), former Prime Minister of the seventh Nizam Hyderabad collected the items housed in the museum from all over the world. The 125th anniversary of Salar Jung III is being celebrated as museum’s 125th anniversary)

6) Who was unanimously elected as the first Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Andhra Pradesh post bifurcation of the state on 20 June 2014? – Kodela Sivaprasada Rao (Rao is a veteran TDP legislator and has been elected to the Assembly from Guntur district for the sixth time. Pro-tem Speaker P Narayanaswamy Naidu announced the election of K. Sivaprasada Rao in the old Assembly building, which has been allotted to AP following the bifurcation)

7) India’s domestic air traffic between January and May 2014 grew by around 3% as compared to the same period last year. Which company once again led in domestic air service segment during the month of May 2014? – IndiGo (IndiGo continued to dominate the scene in terms of market share cornering 31.7% in May 2014, followed by Jet Airways- JetLite combine with 21%, Air India with 18.6%, SpiceJet 17.9% and GoAir 9.8%. All Indian carriers flew 60.22 lakh passengers in May compared to 57.10 lakh in April, while the January-May figure stood at 267.22 lakh as against 260 lakh in the same period last year recording a 2.78% growth, latest official air traffic data showed)

8) Which senior IAS officer was recently appointed Private Secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi? – Rajeev Topno (Topno, a 1996 batch IAS officer of Gujarat cadre, was already working as Director in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). His formal appointment was announced on 18 June 2014)

9) According to the latest survey report released by a US travel website ‘’, which airline emerged as the cheapest in the World? – ‘Firefly’ of Malaysia (Firefly took the top spot in the cheapest airline segment by offering a one-way flight tickets, including 20 kg of checked-in baggage fees, at an average of 30 euro. Two India-based airlines – SpiceJet and Indigo were also included among the top 10 cheapest airlines in the world. SpiceJet, which was placed at the second spot, was offering a one-way ticket at an average of 52.24 euro, while the cost of one-way ticket of IndiGo, placed in the eighth position, came to 68.37 euro)

June 22-23, 2014

1) What unique record was created by Chess World Champion Magnus Carlsen after winning the World Blitz Championship held at Dubai on 22 June 2014? – He became the first ever chess player to hold the World Blitz, Rapid and Classic title at the same title(Carlsen won the Rapid title earlier this month and he took the World Championship for 2013 from Viswanathan Anand during November 2013. India’s Vishwanathan Anand finished at a joint fifth place after scoring 13.5 points. Nepomniachtchi won the silver, while the bronze went to Nakamura who started as the top seed in the championship)

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